High School Resumes: 3 Effective Ways to Paint a Picture of Yourself

Most people associate the word resume with a job search. Yet, a resume is about more than finding a job. It tells a story. Your story.

Highlighting interests and experiences helps you to gain insights about what makes you stand out. Some students find it hard to brag. A resume is a way to outline achievements in a comfortable, socially acceptable manner. You can elaborate on everything in which you are involved, in and out of school, noting the specific contributions that you made to each activity. A strong, well-organized resume will also demonstrate your professionalism and maturity.

Resumes should give you a better sense of direction and helping you to get a few ideas about what you want in the future.

Significantly, students should not wait until the end of junior year or the beginning of senior year to put together a resume. This should start as soon as you begin participating in meaningful activities. By building a resume early on, you will be able to include information that you might not remember years later. Students should obviously tighten up their resumes as they finish off junior year. Yet, by establishing an ongoing rough draft of your resume, you will gather ideas and information that you can later include in college essay and use to highlight your achievements. Students should also notice certain recurring themes as they gather this information.

As you develop a resume, make sure that your activities show:

  • Consistency. Students are better off becoming deeply involved in a few activities for the duration of high school. “One-off” activities, a day of community service that you never do again or joining a club for one year, does not show an ability to follow through. Taking four honors/Advanced Placement classes as a senior after taking easier classes for the first three years is inconsistent, and makes you appear to be overcompensating at the last minute. When admissions officers or employers look at a resume and see a few activities in which a student has been consistently and intensely involved, they tend to take the student more seriously.
  • Commitment. Admissions officers and employers are interested in students who are committed to their academics and extracurricular activities. They want to see a pattern of growth. If a your grades go up every year or if you accept more responsibility in an extracurricular activity every year, colleges and employers see a commitment to excellence and continuous growth. Make sure that you include all honors that you’ve achieved. This demonstrates that you have been recognized for your commitment to your activities.
  • Honesty. Employers and college admissions officers look at hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes. They can see through the students who throw a few extra activities on their resume to pad it. Focus on what you’ve done. And done well. Go deep. Employers and college admissions officers are more likely to consider students who can speak, honestly, about their involvement and interest in one or two activities.

A resume is not a commitment. It is a map. Putting together a resume helps students to paint a picture of themselves. You are colorful and original. Make sure that employers, teachers, and college admissions counselors can see that. Detail your experience in an clear-cut, honest manner that shows your commitment to your interests. Your professionalism, organizational skills, and maturity will shine through.

For more information about developing your resume for college applications or professional pursuits, contact GAMECHANGER.


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